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Writing Short Courses Newsletter Spring 2024

It’s pretty cold out still, but the snowdrops are here and spring is just around the corner…promise! For even more cheer, here’s the latest from our writing short course alumni and tutors.

The Novel Studio Alumni

 

Lara Haworth’s debut novel Monumenta is due out with Canongate in July. Pre-order here.

 

Jo Cunningham’s debut cosy crime novel Death by Numbers is due out with Hachette in August. You can pre-order here.

 

Katharine Light has been shortlisted for The Selfies 2024 in the adult fiction category for her novel Like Me.

 

Current Novel Studio student Jill Craig has been published in Eggplusfrog.

 

Peter Forbes’ Narrative Non Fiction alumnus Aniefiok Ekpoudom’s debut Where We Come From: Rap, Home & Hope in Modern Britain, was published by Faber last month. Jimi Famurewa reviewed it in The Evening Standard here.

Alumna Sophie Rutenbar, an expert on Haiti were she has worked, has won an International Affairs Fellowship from the US Council on Foreign Relations and is writing for the prestigious Brookings Institute.

 

Former City tutor Marcelle Bernstein’s Fact Based Storytelling alumnus Steve Young has published a book on Motherwell Cricket Club with Troubador publishing.

 

Susan Grossman’s Travel Writing alumna Yvette Cook has published an article in the Independent about travelling by train to Slovenia and another on Boscastle.

Tutor News

Writing for Children tutor Bryony Pearce has her debut Middle Grade novel, Hannah Messenger and the Gods of Hockwold, coming out in June 6, and she has sold a new YA fiction, Aphrodite (an Aphrodite retelling), which is due out in 2025. 

 

One-day Courses

There are plenty of options for anyone keen on one-day writing courses: our ever-popular Introduction to Copywriting with Maggie Richards is available monthly; while our Writing the Memoir course is now taught by the brilliant Anna Wilson. Our Writing for the Web and Digital Media continues to be run by the expert broadcast journalist Holly Powell-Jones; and the dynamic duo of Anna Tsekouras and Pete Austin, aka Anon Agency, run our Intro to Branding course.

Opportunities

Our year-long Novel Studio course for aspiring novelists is now open for applications for 2024/25 intake, with a deadline of 30th June 2024. All successful applicants are automatically entered into the Novel Studio literary agent competition, with the top three applications sent to Lucy Luck, literary agent at C&W Agency with a view to representation.

There is also a fully funded scholarship for the course, The Captain Tasos Politis Scholarship, available to a talented applicant from a low-income household.

Our Writing for Social Impact course continues to offer a scholarship for one young student (18-25) from an underrepresented background and/or facing financial difficulty. Please contact the tutor, Ciaran Thapar, for more information on this opportunity.

All current students of Introduction to CopywritingWriting for Business and Narrative Non-Fiction courses are eligible to submit an idea for a blog post for short courses. If the idea is accepted, and the written piece meets our standards, it will be professionally edited and published on our blog.

City Writes

This spring sees the return of City Writes, our termly showcase for all the great writing talent coming out of the creative writing short courses at City. This term our guest authors will be Laurence Kershook and Katharine Light (see above) both alumni of the Novel Studio.

To join us at the event on March 27th at 7pm on Zoom, please register for free HERE.

And if you would like to enter the competition to win the chance to share the stage with Laurence and Katharine, please visit here for all the submission details. Deadline for entries is this Friday 1st March! That’s tomorrow!!

Writing Retreat

This May the Ruppin Agency Writers’ Studio is returning to Paris for another edition of our spring writing retreat. A literary agent and a published author and university lecturer are teaming up to guide writers through five days of focussed writing, offering individual feedback, advice and group exercises. They’re offering £200 off the full price to anyone who quotes PARIS2024 (or mentions where they heard about this).

Open Evening

And finally, we are running an open evening with taster sessions on March 26th at 6pm. There’ll also be a dedicated Novel Studio enquiry desk manned by tutor Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone for anyone who wants to find out more about our flagship year-long course. Register HERE.

That’s all for now. Keep on writing and keep your stories coming into us. And huge congratulations to all our alumni and tutors.

Short Course Taster Evening 26 March 2024

 

Join us this March 26 for our free taster event, where you’ll have the chance to speak to the team, find out more about our courses and ask any questions.

You can even take part in a free 45-minute taster session to get a flavour of what it’s like to learn with us.

We will have a choice of tasters available, including:

There will also be a Novel Studio enquiry desk for anyone who wants to find out more about how to apply for our flagship year-long novel writing course.

And as a bonus, we are also offering a 10% discount on all our short courses for anyone who attends the open evening and enrols with us on the night.

Attendance at City events is subject to our terms and conditions.

City Writes Spring 2024 Competition Open for Submissions

By Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone

 

City Writes, the showcase event for all the wonderful writing coming from our Creative Writing Short Courses at City, is only weeks away. This term’s City Writes is Wednesday 27th March at 7pm and we’re delighted to have two Novel Studio alumni, Laurence Kershook and Katharine Light, as our headline double act.

For your chance to join Laurence and Katharine and read your work on the online stage, the City Writes Competition is open for submissions and you need only send your best 1,000 words of creative writing (fiction or non-fiction but no poetry, drama or children’s fiction) to rebekah.lattin-rawstrone.2@city.ac.uk by midnight on the 1st March 2024 along with details of your current or previous Creative Writing short course. Full submission details can be found here.

The Broygus by Laurence Kershook came out in March 2022 and is an evocative exploration of the history of a Jewish East End family not to be missed. Katharine Light’s Like Me came out in November 2023. Her novel turns an adult school reunion into a possible rekindling of teenage romance. You can find out more by reading fantastic blog articles for Katharine and Laurence – simply click on their names. This will be a fantastic night full of tantalising tales and excellent writing advice.

Book your ticket here and send us your work. We look forward to your submissions!

Why You Need to Learn Python – A Guide to What it is and Why it’s Important

Tobi Broadie, City Python Tutor

Tobi Brodie has over a decade’s experience teaching computer coding and web development in London and the South East of England, lecturing at Birkbeck University and, in his spare time, running Code Clubs for kids. He has an educational background  in Computing and Information Systems and has worked in web development with various companies, from start-ups to not for profit organisations.  Over the years he has built up skills in ‘all things web’, with a strong knowledge of the programming languages required to design, develop, and maintain them — including HTML, CSS, PHP & JavaScript. He also  teaches core computer programming languages such as Python and Java to undergraduate level.

We asked Tobi to guide us through a whistle-stop tour on what Python is and why it’s still such an important language to learn.

 

  1. What course do you teach at City? The Python course at City is split into 10 sessions, either once a week over 10 weeks or twice a week over 5. It is a very comprehensive course and we pack a lot of material into each session. It covers all the fundamental concepts of computer coding in detail, which can be applied to any coding language. We use industry standard tools and teach high quality techniques to create maintainable code. We also look at Python specific concepts that make the language one of the most used in industry.

The fundamental concepts include:

  • The use of variables, data types and basic operators
  • program control flow (loops and conditional statements)
  • Functions (reusable chunks of code)
  • Inputs (via the keyboard) and outputs (via the screen)
  • Data structures (accessing and manipulating data)
  • Error handling
  • File handling (opening files, reading and writing to files)

The Python specific concepts we cover are:

  • Accessing data from external sources (HTML & JSON parsing)
  • Using Python libraries and modules
  • An introduction to object-orientated programming using Python
  1. What is Python in a nutshell?! Python is a user-friendly programming language known for its clear and easy-to-read code. It’s used in many areas such web development, data analysis, and A.I. due to its versatility. Python has lots of libraries and modules you can make use of to add additional functionality to your code. Its simplicity makes it great for both new and experienced programmers.
  2. Why is Python still such an important language to learn? Python is often taught as the first language for beginners as the       code uses English-like keywords, so is easier to understand, and therefore a good stepping stone to more complex syntax based  languages such as Java or C#.This simplicity does not make Python only usable for beginners — the variety of different modules makes it a versatile and valuable programming language to learn, and it is one of the most used languages within computer science.In fact, Python is consistently ranked as one of the most in-demand programming languages in the job market and learning Python can lead to lucrative career opportunities in various industries.
  3. What skills or experience do you need to learn Python? You don’t need any prior programming experience to start learning Python! Whether you are completely new to programming or have some experience with other languages, Python can be easily picked up. Having a basic understanding of computer operations and how to use a computer is helpful, but is not a strict requirement. Our course at City takes you through installing Python on your Windows, Linux or Apple PC, and we provide links to useful free software as well as providing learning materials and coding examples throughout the course. All you really need to begin learning Python is curiosity, patience, and a willingness to dive in and explore. With the abundance of resources and materials we provide throughout the course, you can start learning Python today, regardless of your background or experience level!
  4. What would you recommend students study after taking your course?

This all depends on your reason for studying Python in the first place. If your reasons are job oriented, you may want to look into the different uses of Python in industry:

  • If you wanted to use Python for web development I would recommend exploring frameworks such as Django or Flask, which use Python to build dynamic web applications.
  • If you are looking into a career in Machine learning, AI or data science, I would suggest exploring and learning Python libraries such as NumPy, Pandas, Matplotlib and scikit-learn – these tools are widely used for data manipulation, analysis, visualization, and machine learning tasks.
  • If you wanted to go into software engineering, I would say you should familiarise yourself with software engineering best practices such as version control (e.g., Git), testing, debugging, code reviews, and documentation.
  • There are so many other career pathways that I could talk about, such as game development, cyber-security, network programming, automation or natural language processing, but the opportunities are too vast to list in full.

If you have completed the course because you are interested in computer coding and wanted to learn Python as a stepping stone to another language, I salute you! If this is the case, and you are interested in web development, I would recommend any of the other short courses I currently teach at City:

  • PHP — PHP is a server-side scripting language used for generating dynamic content. Its syntax is similar to C-style languages. PHP integrates with databases and has extensive libraries and frameworks. Commonly used for dynamic websites, web applications, and API development, it’s open-source, platform-independent, and widely deployed on web servers.
  • JavaScript —JavaScript is a versatile, high-level programming language. It enables interactive web pages by adding dynamic behaviour to HTML. JavaScript runs on the client-side, executing in users’ web browsers. It’s known for its event-driven, asynchronous nature and is essential for modern web development, including building interactive websites and web applications.
  • MySQL – MySQL is an open-source relational database management system widely used for storing and managing structured data. It uses SQL (Structured Query Language) for querying and manipulating data. MySQL is known for its reliability, scalability, and performance, making it a popular choice for web applications, e-commerce platforms, and when combined with PHP, is an ideal solution for data driven websites.
  • Advanced Web Authoring — This course covers web development using mobile first techniques, how to create accessible websites for all users, use of web-fonts, video and audio within websites, HTML validation in forms, using CSS frameworks such as Bootstrap and styling using SASS/SCSS .

In addition to the courses I teach, City runs short courses in Java, C/C++ , mobile applications and many more. Most of City’s short courses have the same format of 10 sessions over 10 weeks.

  1. How long does it take to master Python, or at least be able to use it in a work setting?

Once you have completed the course at City, you should have a basic understanding of the Python language which will provide you with the knowledge to move onto specialise. If you want to use Python for tasks such as scripting, automation, or basic web development, it shouldn’t take much more time and study to begin working in that field.

As with all skills, the more you use them, the better you will become. Regularly using Python to solve practical problems and create projects helps build confidence and hone your skills.

Mastering Python is something in my mind I am yet to achieve! I have been using Python for many years, and there is always some new library to learn or some new application of the language I haven’t explored yet. I would say ‘mastery of Python’ should be seen as more a journey rather than a destination.

  1. What career paths might open up as a result of learning Python?

There are so many — it depends on your interests or goals.

The following are all possible routes you could go down:

  • Software developer/engineer
  • Data analyst
  • Machine learning engineer
  • DevOps* engineer

* DevOps – a combination of software development (dev) and operations (ops)

  • Quality assurance engineer
  • Cybersecurity analyst
  • And of course, an educator/trainer such as myself!
  1. And is Python still the most important programming language to learn or have others taken its place?

I would say yes. Python is consistently ranked among the top programming languages in terms of job demand and market trends. Many companies across various industries are seeking Python developers. Roles in software development, data analysis and machine learning engineering are commonly advertised across the country.

Other languages like JavaScript, Java, C++, and others do also hold significant importance, depending on the specific context and requirements of a project or industry. However, Python is a great way to start your journey into learning code and is an ideal stepping stone into any of the other languages, due to the simplicity of its syntax.

Thank you, Tobi!

If this has whetted your appetite for learning Python, visit our course page HERE to find out more. The next course starts on 12 Feb with a booking deadline of 7 Feb .

Or check out what other computing courses we have available HERE.

 

Top Ten Tips for Branding

Anna Tsekouras and Pete Austin, the brains behind Anon Agency

Even though we’re surrounded by brands 24/7, branding is sometimes a difficult concept to understand. The reality is that good branding can be the difference between a successful company and an unsuccessful one. And building up ‘brand equity’ in an audience (the measurable ‘value’ of a brand) is something industries spend trillions of dollars on—because if you have a consistent, authentic brand which your audience trusts, there’s no end to where you can go.

Here are some quick branding tips which are just as relevant whether you’re running an in-house campaign, launching your own business or running a global brand…

 

  1. Think about your audience

Audience, audience, audience. It doesn’t matter whether you’re one store with an audience of people within 1.5km of your outlet, or a global brand with an audience of millions, you have to think about who your audience is. Consider why they would want to interact with your brand, and what you want them to do and feel when they see your brand. Who are they? What do they like to do in their spare time? What media do they consume? Audience insights can feel overwhelming, but there are ways to do it in a scaled-back way which means you can create ‘personas’ of the audience you’re looking to reach. You can then plug these into your marketing on platforms like Meta.

 

  1. Know yourself — be authentic

Authenticity is absolutely key for every brand. If you’re inauthentic, audiences will see through you very quickly. There are so many examples of when brands have fallen foul of deviating from their authentic voice or purpose. Audiences don’t want to feel like they’re being taken for a ride. The most successful brands find an ‘authentic voice’ and ‘authentic vision’ and stick to it.

 

  1. Create a strong visual identity

The Nike tick. The McDonald’s golden arches. The Chanel interlinking Cs. The Nickelodeon orange splat. All brand agencies will tell you that a brand is about more than the logo, but it doesn’t mean the logo and a strong visual identity isn’t vital. If it’s done well, your visual brand (colours, fonts, imagery) and creative mark can do a lot of the heavy-lifting for your brand and how it makes your audience feel.

 

  1. Consider all elements of ‘brand’

Although a logo is obviously a vital brand touchpoint (see above!) branding is everything which makes your audience think or feel a certain way. For example the ‘brand’ for a restaurant must consider basic things like menu colours, logos and fonts – but also it’s the ‘physical brand’, so the type and volume of music, scents, quality of cutlery, staff uniforms, levels of lighting, the greeting guests receive etc. Think about how different it feels to sit in a burger joint than a high-end restaurant.

 

  1. Be consistent

Branding is nothing without consistency. Of course, companies can ‘re-brand’ which changes their look and feel, but the core tenets of a brand should not fundamentally change. With every brand you’re aiming to build your ‘brand equity’ —this is the ‘value’ you add to your company or organisation through branding and the association your audience has with it. This is built up over time, and conversely can be lost overnight if not handled properly.

 

  1. Don’t skip the basics: Vision and Mission

There are vital Brand ‘building blocks’ you simply cannot skip. Your Vision is your ‘why’ and your Mission is your ‘what’. Defining a brand mission is usually pretty straightforward, but it can sometimes take much longer to define the Vision. We’ve seen clients take months to come up with their Vision statement – but once it’s done, it’s a core part of everything the business does. It’s usually why the Vision is front and centre on organisations’ websites or in staff induction packs.

 

  1. Identify your point of difference

Brands can become obsessed with competitors — this is something we wouldn’t advise. It’s important to know your competitors and what they’re offering, but you should spend more time working out what is different about YOU. It’s this point of difference that is the essence of your brand. It’s what sets you apart from the rest, and the centre point from which you can build out the rest of your brand.

 

  1. Know your limits — don’t overreach

When you’re working on a brand it’s easy to get carried away; especially if it’s your own brand or company which you’ve poured countless resources into. But we’ve seen clients licence IP for trainers and energy drinks for their brand before they’ve thought about their Vision statement. Branding is a process, and if you follow the right steps you’ll end up with a strong and clear brand. And if you look at any successful business, a strong and clear brand is always at the heart of it. Resist the temptation to get distracted and move too quickly, overlooking the important bits of branding.

 

  1. Don’t be afraid of failure

We hear every day from clients: “we have to get this right”. It’s true, of course. But we always tell them “we’ll get it wrong a few times first”. There’s no way that any brand ever stumbled across its final iteration without rounds and rounds of edits (and probably arguments!). From re-written Vision and Mission statements, to logo changes — brand is an evolution. If you want to get it right the first time, you’re probably going to be disappointed!

 

  1. Get help!

Branding is a conundrum. It can sometimes seem like the most simple thing in the world, but at the same time feel totally overwhelming when you’re not getting it right. We see it every day with clients. Getting a good brand agency or expert to help steer you through branding for your product, company or campaign is vital – and definitely pays dividends in the long run. You often live and breathe your brand, and getting an outside view can give you the perspective you need.

About the Authors

Pete Austin and Anna Tsekouras are the dynamic duo behind Anon, a story-led brand agency. Since launching in late 2020 the Agency has created new brands from scratch for a number of start-ups as well as taking existing small businesses through to funding rounds. Both qualified journalists with over twenty years’ experience on newspapers and national magazines, they transferred their story-driven skills into communications, brand and PR where they worked on major partnerships and campaigns across national government, higher education, charity and the arts. Some of the organisations, clients and businesses Anna and Pete have worked on brand briefs or partnerships with: UAL, Goldsmiths University of London, Hayward Gallery, IBM, Barclays, British Airways, Barbican, Grayson Perry, Design Museum, British Museum, TATE Modern, VICE, Bustle, Evening Standard, BBC, DAN’S and Public Offerings Ltd.

They also teach our intensive Branding A to Z short course at City.

Sign up for Intro to Branding HERE. Next course starts Feb 26 — BOOK NOW.

See what other writing courses we have on offer HERE.

Or browse our full range of short courses HERE.

How I Navigate Imposter Syndrome as a Non-Native English Writer

Author Dominik Jemec Photo by Marcel Kukovec

By Dominik Jemec

“You’ll never be good enough because you’re not a native writer.” That’s what a professor of translation studies at my university in Austria told me when I said my dream was to be an English writer. That was five years ago.

I’ve had many awful jobs since graduating, from delivering mail in sweltering heat to fielding daily insults while working in a call centre. Then in 2021, I got my first writing job: creating customer care-related content about cryptocurrencies. After a mass layoff in the summer of 2022, I joined a travel company called TourRadar as a content specialist, where I work on creative campaigns.

But I’m not complacent. My impostor syndrome leaks out of me a lot. If you’re a non-native writer like me, you may be fighting the same demons. Here’s how I keep them at bay.

I split up my writing process

You can’t be a writer without writing. But if you’re constantly questioning your skills, how do you actually get down to writing?

First, research. I use AI tools like ChatGPT 4. They’re just much better than looking things up online. I write detailed prompts because the better my input, the better the output.

Then I write, without overthinking. To stay focused, I put on a timer and just hammer out the text. If I have writer’s block, I ask ChatGPT to write a draft based on the research.

Lastly, I edit. It’s a tough process. Sometimes I have to remove parts I really like that just don’t fit. But I never discard them – I put them in a document with other unused content. Editing is ‘magical’. I might go a certain direction when I write, then turn it on its head when I edit.

I seek feedback

I’ve often been scared to send a piece of writing to my manager for proofreading. I would try to make every sentence perfect, thinking I’d be sacked if I didn’t. The pressure I put on myself took more energy than the writing itself, so I eventually learned to let go.

Every time my manager gives me feedback, I go through it carefully, analysing where I need to improve. All my favourite writers – Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams and Hunter S. Thompson – got edited, so why shouldn’t I?

Outside of work, I get writing feedback from the Sunday WritersClub, and do specialised courses, including City, University of London’s Introduction to Copywriting, led by Maggie Richards. Not only did I learn the fundamentals of copywriting, I wrote a lot of copy and received helpful feedback from Maggie.

I connect with other writers

I listen to writing podcasts like the Copywriter Club, and follow creative writers like Drayton Bird, Dan Nelken and Eddie Shleyner on LinkedIn. If, for example, you love advertising like I do, whenever you see an ad you like, find out who produced it and start following them on social media. The knowledge writers share (for free) is staggering.

I embrace my voice

I used to embellish my writing because I really wanted to prove myself. But I’ve found that such texts are mostly unreadable. I’ve learned that simplicity wins.

There is merit in emulating good flow and sentence structure, but at the end of the day, your voice is your USP. Incorporate idioms, metaphors and storytelling elements from your own culture. Your writing will stand out.

I apply for all writing jobs

Many writing jobs ask for a native writer. After I started my current job, I asked our recruiters how many people had applied for the position. Through one job search platform alone there were over 60 applicants. Many were probably native writers with impressive CVs. So why did I get the job? Maybe because of my unwavering passion for writing.

I truly hope my tips help you overcome any self-doubts you may have as a non-native writer – and inspire you to keep on writing well, no matter what lies ahead.

About the author: Dominik Jemec is a Slovenian working in Vienna as a content writer in his third language, English. You can connect with Dominik on LinkedIn.

Dominik took City’s Introduction to Copywriting course taught by Maggie Richards. As part of the course, students can pitch a blog idea. If successful, the post will then be edited and appear on our site. For our full range of courses, visit HERE.

 

 

City Writes Autumn 2023 Winners Announced

By Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone

As the showcase creative writing short courses event approaches, we’re delighted to announce the competition winners who will be reading their work at 7pm on the 13th December with the brilliant tutor and author, Caroline Green. With stories of mystery, murder, mayhem, the complexities of identity and the disappearance of all women, this will be a night you won’t want to miss. You can register for the event here.

This term’s winners are: Mike Clarke, Martin Corteel, Cathie Mullen, Emma O’Driscoll, Tunde Oyebode and Vasundhara Singh. Read on to find out more about these brilliant short creative writing class alumni.

Mike Clarke studied the Novel Studio (when it was the Certificate in Novel Writing), Writers’ Workshop and Caroline Green’s Crime and Thriller Writing Course at City University. He also has an MA in Creative Writing from Manchester Metropolitan University. Several of his short stories have been read in different parts of the world by the renowned Liars League. His non-fiction writing on pubs is regularly featured in the national press. He also dabbles in performing stand-up comedy and is just finishing a novel.

Martin Corteel worked as an editor in London book publishing houses for more years than he would care to mention, and during this time he wrote and anonymously had published a number of books of very little substance. The novel he’s writing, entitled Dover Souls, recounts apocryphal family tales of skullduggery set amongst battling publicans at the outset of the First World War. He recently completed several creative writing courses at City University, including the Writers’ Workshop, and lives in North West London.

Cathie Mullen is from Ireland but has lived in Germany for many years. Until recently she was head of an international school. Her writing has been published by The Educational Company of IrelandWriter’s Forum and The Mersey Review. She’s currently working on a memoir. Authors whose work has recently inspired her include Octavia Bright, Claire Keegan and Sinéad Gleeson. Her passions include theatre and swimming (in all seasons). Cathie is an alumna of the Approach to Creative Writing course.

Originally from Dorset, Emma O’Driscoll lives in Brussels where she works as a press officer for the EU. She is currently writing a crime novel inspired by her love of golden-age detective fiction from the 1920s and 1930s. Emma is an alumna of the Crime and Thriller Writing Summer School and a student on the Novel Writing and Longer Works course. Aside from writing, she enjoys running, painting, and walking her border terrier, Karenin.

Writers’ Workshop alumnus Tunde Oyebode is a London-based architect and writer who explores the intricacies of everyday societal dynamics and relationships in his fiction. His work has appeared in Stylist Magazine, Obsidian Issue 48.1 and the 2021 Michael Terrence Anthology and also pending publication in LISP Anthology 2023. Some of his other stories have been shortlisted and longlisted in competitions like Chester B Himes Memorial Fiction Contest, Exeter Short Story Prize and the Bristol Short Story Prize. He aspires to publish a collection of his short stories.

Vasundhara Singh is a graduate of Journalism from Kamala Nehru college, Delhi University. Alumina of City University of London’s Novel Studio programme, she is one of the winners of City Writes Spring 2021.

With writers of this quality reading alongside tutor and writer extraordinaire, Caroline Green, City Writes Autumn 2023 promises to be an evening you won’t want to miss. Register for the event at 7pm on the 13th December on Zoom here. See you there!

Final Call for Submissions to City Writes Autumn 2023 – DEADLINE THIS FRIDAY, 17th NOVEMBER

Deadline 17 November 2023
Want to join brilliant author and tutor, Caroline Green on the virtual stage of City Writes, the showcase for the best creative writing coming from City’s Short Creative Writing Courses, on Wednesday 13th December? All you need to do is submit your best 1,000 words of fiction or creative non-fiction (we accept YA but sadly NOT poetry, drama or children’s fiction) to rebekah.lattin-rawstrone.2@city.ac.uk by midnight on Friday 17th November. Please check the full submission details here. That’s just 5 days away!

You will get to read your work in front of a supportive audience alongside Caroline who writes wonderful fiction for young people and adults and is the fantastically acclaimed teacher of the Crime and Thriller Writing short course and Crime and Thriller Writing Summer School here at City. From YA, through psychological thriller, to supernatural detective fiction, Caroline Green is an inspirational powerhouse. Register here now to save your spot for the night.

City Writes guest, author and tutor Caroline Green

To share the virtual stage with Caroline on the 13th December, don’t for get to submit your best 1,000 words of fiction or creative non-fiction to rebekah.lattin-rawstrone.2@city.ac.uk  Please check the full submission details here.

Don’t forget to sign up for the event on the 13th December here.

Get submitting and good luck!

Novel Studio Literary Agent Competition Winners 2023/24

Jill Craig

We are delighted to announce the winners of 2023/4’s Novel Studio Literary Agent Competition are Jill Craig, Shere Ross and Linda Wystemp.

The competition is a key feature of City’s flagship short course the Novel Studio, which offers a select group of 15 aspiring novelists the dedicated time and support to hone their craft. The competition is a rare opportunity to bypass the slush pile of manuscript submissions to literary agents, and is run in  conjunction with Lucy Luck, literary agent at C&W Agency.

Jill Craig works as a secondary English teacher in the North West where literature is a constant presence. She loves fiction which investigates and reflects dynamics which are often the foundation of our lives: romantic, friendship, familial. Although she’s studied and now teaches literature, actually writing it is a relatively new – daunting, but exciting- experience. 

Shere Ross is a writer of short stories and other works of fiction. Her work has been shortlisted for several prizes including the Wasafiri New Writing Prize. She is a winner of the BlackInk New Writing Prize.

Linda Wystemp was born and raised in the heart of Germany’s Black Forest before crossing the Channel to study in Oxford and London. She enjoys writing screenplays and short stories and has dabbled in fencing and the violin. Linda is currently working on her contemporary literary fiction novel which explores the moral complexities of parent-child relationships.

Emily Pedder, Course Director of the Novel Studio said: “We were very excited by these three writers; their submissions were strong and distinctive, and we can’t wait to see their novels progress over this coming year. ”

The Novel Studio was established over a decade ago and has a very strong track record of published alumni. Recent bestselling and award-winning novels include Deepa Anappara’s Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, Anna Mazzola’s  The Unseeing, The Story Keeper, The Clockwork Girl,  and The House of Whispers, and Harriet Tyce’s Blood Orange, The Lies You Told and It Ends At Midnight.

 

Congratulations to Jill, Shere and Linda! We can’t wait to see their novels develop over the coming year!

Autumn 2023 News from our Writing Community

Happy Autumn! Here’s the latest news from our fantastic writing short course alumni and tutors…

 

Alumni News

Author and City short course alumna Deepa Anappara

Oneworld have acquired The Last of Earth, the second novel by Novel Studio alumna Deepa Anappara. The novel will be published in hardback as a lead title in March 2025. An historical novel set in mid-19th century Tibet, Juliet Mabey at Oneworld said ‘I’m delighted to be working with such a bold and unique storyteller.’

 

Katy Darby’s Writers’ Workshop and Short Story Writing students have had more astonishing success. Rupert Dastur has sold his debut novel Cloudless to Penguin. Richie Jones was shortlisted for the London Magazine Short Story Prize. Sean Hannaway, as S. P. Hannaway, recently had a short story published in Stand (‘This or That or Any Other Thing’) and one is forthcoming in The Pomegranate (‘Exit Pye, with Cushion’). Sean was also shortlisted for the Bristol Prize in 2021 for his short story ‘Love, Hunger’.

Peter Forbes’ Narrative Non Fiction alumni have been as busy as ever!

Narrative Non Fiction Alumna Claire Martin’s debut, Heirs of Ambition

NNF alumna Claire Martin published her debut book Heirs of Ambition: The Making of the Boleyns in September with History Press. Ed O’Brien’s article ‘Hardcore Landscaping: how to grow a garden on sand, gravel and concrete’ was published in The Guardian on 28 July 2023; and Alice Kent’s memoir  ‘And Those are Stars’ was published in Hinterland, Issue 13, 2023.

Amal Abdi, graduate of Holly Rigby’s Narrative Non Fiction course, has been commissioned to write a new play for London’s Rich Mix theatre venue. The play will run for two dates on Tuesday 24th and Wednesday 25th October and can be booked here.

Susan Grossman’s Travel Writing Student, Yvette Cook, has had successful travel journalism commissions from The Independent, The Slovenia Tourist Board and BBC Sky at Night.

Competitions

City Writes, City’s termly writing competition for all past and present City short course writing students, is open for submissions. This term’s event is on Wednesday 13th December at 7pm on Zoom and the published guest author will be writer and City tutor, Caroline Green. Not only does Caroline write fiction for young people and adults, she is also the much valued and acclaimed teacher of the Crime and Thriller Writing short course here at City. From YA, through psychological thriller, to supernatural detective fiction, Caroline Green is an inspirational powerhouse. Register here now to save your spot for the night.

If you would like to read your work in front of a supportive audience and share the virtual stage with Caroline on the 13th December, all you need to do is submit your best 1,000 words of fiction or creative non-fiction (we accept YA but sadly NOT poetry, drama or children’s fiction) to rebekah.lattin-rawstrone.2@city.ac.uk by midnight on Friday 10th November. Please check the full submission details here.

 The Book Edit Writers’ Prize 2023 is open for submissions. Judged this year by Deepa Anappara, and in association with Legend Press, the prize is free to enter and open to all British or UK-based unpublished, unagented novelists from communities currently underrepresented in UK publishing. For more details visit the prize page here. Deadline 23 October.

 Scholarships

We offer a fully-funded place for a young adult (18-25) from an underrepresented background and/or facing financial difficulty on our Writing for Social Impact course. To apply, please contact the tutor Ciaran Thapar explaining why you’d like to attend. This course is now offered monthly to reflect the increased demand.

 Tutor News

Author and Short Course Tutor Katy Darby

Short Story and Writers’ Workshop tutor Katy Darby has three new historical short stories coming out in anthologies in November, with Belanger Books.

Writing for Children tutor Bryony Pearce’s new Mid-grade novel, Hannah Messenger and the Gods of Hockwold, was published in June, and her short story is in a new sci fi anthology Parsec in Print.

Writing the Memoir tutor Anna Wilson’s picture book Grandpa and the Kingfisher was shortlisted for the Wainwright Nature Prize, illustrated by Sarah Massini.

And finally, we have a new Writing for Business tutor on Monday evenings, Tamsin Mackay. Welcome, Tamsin! And huge thanks to Jenny Stallard, who Tamsin is replacing, for her brilliant teaching the past few years.

Happy Writing Everyone. and congrats to all our brilliant alumni and tutors.

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